By Mthuthuzeli Mpiti*
In production since 2003 and based on its cousin, the Ford Ranger, the Ford Everest is on its third generation now, and when I received its 3.2 TDCi Limited 6AT 4WD version for a week long review, I thought Ford Southern Africa had played their cards very well by offering me the Ford Everest soon after I had played host to the FX4. This way, I could have a more direct comparison between the two in-terms of driving quality and feel.
I could see the familiar interior feel of the Ranger in the Everest however; I found the dashboard and built quality to be plusher than in the Ranger. You could tell that this 7 seater SUV was more family oriented and was not juggling leisure and workhorse credentials.
The 3rd row comes in handy for individuals with big families, the two ISOFIX anchoring points ensures that the seats for your little ones are safely secured in second row. The 3rd and 2nd row can be completely laid flat to maximize loading space and practicality.
The front seats are electrically adjusted, same goes for the seats on third row and with the touch of a button they can fold flat on surface. You will be pleased to know that the tailgate is electric powered and can be opened on the inside with a button or double click on car remote. Closing the tailgate is by means of a button too. Having spent some time in the car, I found the legroom on the first and second rows to be decent. The third is more suited for case as is usually the case with most 7 seater SUVs. Staying inside, the electronically powered dual moon roof ensures you get all the African sun light you need. It is actually one of the biggest sunroofs in its segment.
I’m quite the technology freak and the first thing I check in a car is the technological features and the Everest did not disappoint. It has features such as an onboard navigation system, front and back park distance control with rearview camera, intuitive control hands-free voice controlled commands, SYNC3 (which works in conjunction with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for streaming music, attending to calls, operating voice controlled text messages). The multi instrument intelligent cluster lets you decide what you want to view. The sound system is one of the loudest standard systems I have ever came across thanks to its 10 speakers. To keep the party going for everyone, there 2 USB Points, not one but four 12V power points as well as 230V/150W power converter socket outlet.
Keeping you safe are features such as automatic high beam assist and LED lights meaning you will never dazzle oncoming traffic. You also get seven airbags as standard. The lane departure assist that literally steers the car back into your lane, the blind spot assist visually indicates blind spots on left and right mirrors on the approach of a cars on blind spot, and the adaptive cruise control with collision warning monitors traffic in front of your car, slows down and accelerate accordingly. It even manages picking up speed from a complete stop.
One of the features that fascinated is the park assist that will help you to navigate through the parking spaces. All you have to do is to control brakes and throttle and it takes care of the steering part, but I also noticed that you can only parallel park, alley dock parking is not possible, however it is worth noting that not many SUVs on its segment got park assist feature.
Torque on demand that transfers the torque to back and front wheels and can detect which wheel needs most torque for grip and apply accordingly because all wheel drive set up.
But how does it drive you wonder? It’s a refined machine to drive and that’s thanks to the watt’s linkage suspension, a 5 cylinder TDCI engine coupled to 6 speed semi-automatic gearbox. The semi-automatic means you can still change gears manually by use of the gear lever selection.
Off-road expeditions are taken care of by the Terrain Management System that lets you select a driving mode whether it’s sand, rock, grass, mud and gravel with a proper electronic differential lock, Hill descend control, Hill Launch assist and Low Range 4×4 selection.
On the inside it’s a quiet ride all thanks to ANC (not the ruling party but the Active Noise Cancellation) technology that detects and measure engine noise and cancels it using opposing sound waves.
On my test to explore if the Everest can cater for leisure needs, I visited Groot Constantia Estate Founded in 1685 by Simon Van Der Stel, one of the oldest wine farms in Southern Africa and a provincial heritage site. My intention was to do cellar tours and explore ancient history of the wine farm museum and the original Cape Dutch Manor House. No alcohol was consumed but I got access to some interesting terrain.
The next expedition was to travel to the other side of Stellenbosch farms. The destination was the Bottelary Hills Mountain bike trails because of my adventure seeking nature. The Everest swallowed my Mountain Bike with utmost ease all thanks to 2010 litres unlocked when 2nd and 3rd row seats are folded flat.
The Verdict: – the asking price of R716,600 for the 3.2 TDCi Limited 6AT 4WD might sound like a lot of money however, I feel that you get lot more on that price because of the standard features. You should also remember this is top of the range vehicle in the Everest line up. If this is too much, you can still opt for entry level 2.2L XLS and XLT derivatives as well as 3.2 XLT options.
*Mthuthuzeli describes himself as a motoring enthusiast with a particular affinity for products from Wolfsburg. You can also send us your own written or video review and we will gladly publish it. Your contribution will be subject to our editorial policy of course.
Leave a comment